ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — There are only 22 days until Christmas, so the Chicago Rockford International Airport and United States Marines “Toys for Tots” foundation hosted a special holiday celebration for local families on Saturday.

Christmas came early as local children and their families gathered at the airport. Local parent Jessica Bajic said that this was a great opportunity for the kids to have a little joy.

“It feels good,” Bajic said. “I’m very thankful for having the opportunity to come here. They were super excited to see Santa come off the airplane, and they have been waiting, I’ve been telling them about it for a week now.”

“I feel good, and it was snowing,” Layla Prentiss added. “I like snow, and even like Christmas trees and everything.”

RFD partnered with the United States Marine “Toys for Tots” foundation to kick off the holiday season, delivering hope, joy and the spirit of Christmas. Children and their families came together to sing Christmas carols, and kids got to see Frosty.

Comfort 1st Insulation made it extra special by making it snow.

“That’s the best part of being here, to see the smiling faces and hear the kids scream with joy when they see the snow, and when they see Santa, of course,” said Michael Callahan, president of Comfort 1st.

Santa, Mrs. Claus and their elves came by airplane to visit kids and deliver gifts.

“I want to see what is inside,” Prentiss said.

Marine Corps Veteran Rick Egbert said that the Marine Corps League serves the tots in Boone, Stephenson and Winnebago Counties. He said that this is a Marine Corps tradition and that he will never miss a time to give back to the kids.

“I’ve been with the Marine Corps League for, God, 10-15 years, and this is the highlight of the year,” Egbert said. “This is it, Toys for Tots, the most important thing hands down.”

Bajic said that it was amazing to see many people wanting to help other families have a Christmas to remember. She hopes to do the same.

The community is there to help families that are in need and be able to make sure their children have a great Christmas,” she said.